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Arantxa Sanchez Vicario - Stuns Graf

Famous Sports StarsTennisArantxa Sanchez Vicario Biography - Professional At Fourteen, Stuns Graf, A Decade Of Winning, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY SANCHEZ VICARIO:

Stuns Graf

During 1989, her third year on tour, Sanchez Vicario claimed her first Grand Slam title by winning the French Open in an upset over Graf, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-5. She became the first Spanish woman to win at Roland Garros. Her defeat of seemingly unbeatable Graf, who came to the French Open having won the last five consecutive Grand Slam titles and 117 of her last 121 matches, brought Sanchez Vicario, seeded seventh, to the fore-front of the tennis world. The three-hour match was marked by long rallies of 30 to 40 shots in which Sanchez Vicario chased down everything that came her way. Graf, who was suffering from a stomach ailment, made 71 unforced errors, failed to convert 10 of 11 break points, and could not put Sanchez Vicario away serving for the match at 5-3 in the third set.

Upon winning the French Open, the elated Sanchez Vicario rolled in the red clay then sprang up, rushed to Graf, giving her a heartfelt hug. According to Sports Illustrated, in her endearing broken English, Sanchez Vicario exclaimed, "I am very joyed. I am so exciting to win Steffi." Following her win, Sanchez Vicario and her family were granted a private audience with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. After reaching the quarterfinals of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Sanchez Vicario ended the season ranked No. 4.

Following her French Open win, Sanchez Vicario, who up to this point had been known simply as Arantxa Sanchez, decided to tack on her mother's maiden name so that she could honor both sides of her family and they could all see their name in the newspapers. During the 1990 season Sanchez Vicario won two singles titles, four women's doubles, and the mixed doubles title at the French Open. Her best Grand Slam finish was the semi-finals of the U.S. Open. Her biggest win came at the Hamburg Open, where she finally defeated Martina Navratilova, ranked No. 2, after six previous losses. Advancing to the finals, Sanchez Vicario lost to Graf in three sets.

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